CMS finalizes rule on Medicaid expansion payments    03/29/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today issued a final rule establishing the increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage rates for newly eligible individuals under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. In states that expand Medicaid, effective Jan. 1, 2014, the federal government will pay 100% of the cost of the newly eligible beneficiaries through 2016, phasing down to 90% in 2020. The ACA authorizes states to expand Medicaid to adult Americans under age 65 with income of up to 133% of the federal poverty level, and the final rule describes the method states will use to claim the matching rate available under the Medicaid expansion. For states that had coverage expansions in effect prior to the ACA, the rule also provides information about the availability of an increased FMAP for certain adults who are not newly eligible. CMS will accept comments on the rule for 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register on April 2.
CMS, CA partner on dual-eligible demonstration   03/29/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will partner with the state of California on a new project to provide better coordinated care for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, the agency announced this week. Under the demonstration, the fifth state project the agency has approved, California and CMS will contract with selected health plans that will provide both the Medicaid and Medicare benefits and evaluate the effectiveness of a capitated model of care. Eligible beneficiaries will be passively enrolled, with the option to opt out of the Medicare portion of the demonstration beginning no earlier than Oct. 1, 2013. Enrollment will be phased in over 15 months. The state estimates that the demonstration project will include 456,000 Medicare-Medicaid enrollees in eight counties.
Webinar to help providers prepare for next flu season   03/29/2013
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases will preview influenza vaccine options for the 2013-2014 flu season in a special webinar on Tuesday, April 16, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Presenters will also review flu vaccine effectiveness from this season. For more information, visit the Virtual Immunization Communication Network website.
CDC ad campaign urges Americans to quit smoking   03/29/2013
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday launched a second series of national ads urging Americans to quit smoking. Building on last year’s campaign, "Tips from Former Smokers," the ads feature new, compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. Ads will run for at least 12 weeks on television, radio and billboards, online, and in theaters, magazines and newspapers. "This campaign is saving lives and saving dollars by giving people the facts about smoking in an easy-to-understand way that encourages quitting," said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This campaign is effective. The increase in calls to quitlines after last year’s campaign shows that more people are trying to quit smoking as a result of these ads.” The campaign is funded by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.